Restau-rant and rave :)

OK - Let's get on to the CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS....After Janice and Cindy had used the wire brush to clean up alllll that brick... restaurant-pre-attack.jpg then i got to paint over it! Ha. Rich wanted me to do a series of Broadway poster murals on the brick on one wall - and the ThEatery logo on the other. (we are still, by the way still bickering about how to SAY the name of the restaurant and to spell it... I say Theatery, he says The Eatery, and Cindy just says "I don't care what it's called...open the damn thing". I had help laying down the main base colors... and let me tell you painting on brick sucks.

mural-start.jpg

I thought that painting on of these things would take me about a day. But I didn't have any experience painting something like this vertically (I've always had something laying on the floor) OR painting brick. Do paint a single straight line on brick is an exercise in madness. It's the grout - you can handle the brick - but the grout is a big old pain. So each mural took a minimum of THREE DAYS. Rich eventually started helping with the power sprayer (still the greatest 50 dollar purchase in the history of man) to get the main colors down...because doing it with a roller and a brush (in between bricks) took forever. But I'm really pleased with how they came out - here's the first one that I completed...

theatery-mural-cool.jpg

Even getting the stuff sealed wasn't easy - because trying to roller the polyurethane on to the 'Dramatically Delicious' was ruining the white paint cuz it was picking up brick residue and staining it.

The next one I tackled was by far the hardest (which Janice thought I should get out of the way a soon as possible). The posters, by the way, were primarily picked because they all fell in the red, yellow, blue, white black color scheme of the restaurant logo (which since played havoc with any and all color schemes rich had planned for the place). But, ironically, we also ended up picking three shows that were kind of the first big musicals that I, Rich and Janice saw. Rich's first show was Les Mis, Janice's Man of La Mancha, and mine was Me and My Girl. Figuring out how to get these projected up was quite a trick. Because the projector throw didn't make the image nearly large enough we had to rig up one of the eight foot mirrors on a scaffolding, sit the projector on a ladder - shoot the image (reversed) into the mirror and then it would bounce it back onto the correct wall. This also meant that NOBODY could lean on the scaffolding because if it was just wobbled a quarter of an inch the entire image would move and I'd be screwed. Janice was not good at remembering this :) So the Les Mis one took three days... I used the paint sprayer to do the blended colors on the poster - which made me love the sprayer even MORE than I did before.

les-mis-mural.jpg

And then, after three days of painting a million little tiny black lines... it was done. And Cindy went to seal it with the polyurethane. Now the tricky thing about this sealer stuff is that, in the can, and before it dries, it's milky. It only dries clear. Apparently there was something wrong with this can of poly - because it never dried clear. It was like the whole poster was cloudy - and since the poster had so much black in it, it really showed. Ray Pegan thought that it might just be the dampness in the bricks so we should wait. So we waited about a week and... nothin. The nice thing was is that it gave my heart seven days to recover - and by that point I was kind of resigned to having to do it over. Janice was awesome and we basically redid every single inch of black on the thing and I gingerly tried to restore every bit of color that I could without ruining the blended color. It was saved. Amen. And in the meantime - the other two posters came along just dandy. I'm actually really proud of how they look. :)

murals-done.jpg

I basically had to work in a dark room - and because I was painting, nobody could make a lot of dust... so basically Cindy was back to working on de-goo-ing the tile. Her favorite job. The difference is amazing though. SLUDGE DRUDGE floor-sludge.jpg

The tile looks so cool. There are areas that need repair - and Rich is pretty happy with the results of my epoxy clay (called Magic Sculp) that I ordered from NY. I used to it repair a section that was missing of the tin ceiling and a bunch of holes and chips in the brick on the front of the building exterior. The putty is really maleable and dries super super hard... I'm just still struggling with an effective way to tint it.

Rich has been bending conduit and running wires all over the place. Larry is giving him the a-ok on everything. front-lights.jpg

And once all the wiring was in... Drywall.

THREE SHEETROCKS TO THE WIND. hanging-drywall.jpg By the way - along the base of that wall is going to be a line of old doors (the kind with the window in them you always see in 30's detective movies) and they're going to have office names of Producers painted on them, like Ziegfeld. It'll be super cute.

And then, insulation. And all the wiring etc. etc. Holy crap - I'm getting tired just TYPING everything he's gotten done!

Once the ceiling was patched he finished spraying the silver (I was pretty scared about all my murals getting silver dust on them... but the overspray with that sprayer was not bad at all. Using a piece of cardboard Rich did the edges and it looks great.

CEILING PATCHED AND COMPLETED ceiling-completed.jpg

The next big project he had to tackle was the panelling. And the color of the panelling. See with my yellow, blue, red and whatever, it was now quite a challenge to choose colors for all the panelling that was going to run through the bar. Black was the obvious choice, but it seemed a little austere and 50's diner-ish. Rich was like "you came up with these freakin' mural colors - YOU pick a color that goes with them". I finally picked a kind of rusty maroon that picks up the color of the bricks. It's really hard to photograph - it comes out looking lighter. I was a little afraid when it first went on - but now it's really warm and inviting.

theatery-3.jpgAnd, in the long line of crap in the restaurant that's hard to paint... the panelling takes forever. We discovered that it really all needed to be sanded (or the gloss in the paint showed all the flaws), and then you can't use a roller because of all the grooves. So you end up having do it all with a brush - several coats.

CINDY GETS HER GROOVE BACK. ALL 5,000,000 GROOVES. cindy-paints-bar.jpg

Then Rich started building the little alcove areas that the state of Indiana says ya gotta have in order to keep a bar in the restaurant. I find this stuff kind of hilarious - without the little three foot wall children cannot eat in your restaurant. But WITH the magic three foot wall...they can. Ours is not to reason why... ours is just to build a lot of little three foot walls!

bar-in-progress.jpg

Even though I think the reasoning for them is a little goof-arama, I LOVE these little walls. They break up the space and make sections of the restaurant seem intimate...and really gives a nice feel. They're panelled to match the walls (as is the bar) so it pulls everything together really nicely. It reminds me now of our favorite restaurant in NY, Arriba Arriba - so that's kind of warm and fuzzy too.

Securing these little walls (for the bar and the 'don't look at this bar... only pay attention to the wall' alcoves) was quite a challenge. The pack leader drilled through the floor with a hammer drill. I didn't know such a thing existed... It's like "why use a saw and a screwdriver? Use a sawdriver!". Anyway with this hammer drill thing the first hole took like 2 minutes. However the next hole took like half an hour. This concrete was apparently laced with diamonds or something. He and George (who had decided to stop by) managed to get the holes through and then Rich fed steel bars through and bolted the walls to the floor from the basement. I would have used a combination of elmers paste and velcro. Also possibly peanut butter.

So then those little walls got drywalled.

bar-walls-begun.jpg

And panelling on top. I didn't understand why we needed drywall UNDERNEATH panelling... apparently it's for strength. Again... he could have just used peanut butter.

BAR WALLS PAINTED bar-walls-painted.jpg

The trip to Lowes to buy all the molding (for the little fake walls...and the real walls) was a rather sobering one. We needed chair rail for right below the bar ledge, molding for along the floor, molding for the inside corners, molding for the outside corners and the planks for the ledge at the top. It was like 400 bucks in freakin' molding!!!! But it's gonna look so pretty. And we picked a really dark dark aubergine color for the trim that pops nicely. Rich used the router to create a rounded ledge... Here are some of them installed and painted. But a bunch of molding still has to go below the ledge itself.

A LEDGE-END IS BORN ledge-in-progress.jpg

The 'schoolhouse' lights (over which Rich seems a little obsessed) have also gone up and the track lighting is installed for the little spots that will highlight the murals. rich-installs-lights.jpg

My next project was one of my own goofy design. I decided, since it was a theatre-themed restaurant, that it would be really cute to have bathroom mirrors that looked like playbill covers. So that when you looked into them, it seemed like you...YES YOU...were a Broadway star on the cover of a playbill. This was a great idea. Executing it was a pain in the keester. Trying to figure out how to paint mirror was the first challenge. I used spray paint and did a series of masking. Then I had to get the lettering on. So I blew up the writing, printed it out, traced the letters on the back side of the paper with a pencil, and then rubbed it onto the mirror. And then painted. It was all just really finicky and a pain... but I think they came out really well. I've sealed them with like a whole can of spray poly, but since it's going to windexed all the time I think we need to get some kind of varnish to really protect the paint.

PLAYBILL MIRROR playbill-mirrors.jpg

"LOOK MAMA, I'M PRETTY!" jo-jo-in-mirror.jpg

Like seriously - a huge amount of this stuff that i'm typing has all happened in the past week. It's at that point in the process where every little job crossed off the list really is noticeable - so it's exciting. They just got the two handicap accessible bathrooms framed up...

URINETOWN bathrooms-framed.jpg

And after I got done with the putty patching, Janice and Cindy have been painting the exterior of the building. I was giving Rich a hard time about this, cuz I didn't feel like painting the outside was that important at this stage - but I was WRONG. It looks so great... Here it is before: BUILDING OUTSIDE BEFORE building-ext-start.jpg

Here's it is in mid progress... BUILDING IN PROGRESS painting-exterior.jpg

And where it is now. Oooooooooo. building-exterior.jpg

I think the colors they picked are awesome... and the metallic garnet trim color really ties it together with the theater exterior as well.

"WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS' trim-detail.jpg

I had a little brain wave - and we decided to paint the exterior spotlights in the garnet as well. I can't wait till they are installed...cuz they look super nifty.

EXTERIOR LIGHTS exterior-lights.jpg

They are going to light up the restaurant sign which... is... yet to be done. I'm gonna try and get that done this week, except I have like eight million papers to grade and Jekyll and Hyde starts on Wednesday too! I've already performed it for over a thousand middle school students. And lived to tell the tale! It's actually really hard for me to do because the schools need the thing to be NO LONGER than 45 minutes. And when you're doing a solo thing it's sometimes really hard to pace yourself. When we rehearsed it I was going to slow and running over... and then the second time I did it for the schools I went to fast... and the third time, I got really confused and thought that I was running OVER so the last 20 pages I did practically without taking a breath. I will say, slightly more hilarious than my performance as a chipmunk on speed being played at fast forward on tivo, would be the principal of one of the schools...I'm going to repeat this now.... the PRINCIPAL of one of the schools introducing us (TWICE) as "Dr. Hekyll and Mr. Jide". The first time we thought it was just a slip of the tongue. When it was repeated 20 seconds later...not so much.

The most IMPORTANT event in the past month, however, has yet to be discussed. In the process of several days of conversation Cindy became aware that one of my favorite foods in the entire universe was cube steak. Now in the mid-west and West Virginia (where Mom is from) cube steak is pretty well known. To Easterners like Janice and Rich - they had no idea what the heck cube steak is. Ok - I don't think anyone KNOWS what cube steak actually IS - but anyway. So as a total surprise for me, one day, Cindy made me cube steak (so that Rich and Janice could try it out as a possible item for the menu). I opened the door of the apartment and literally smelled my childhood...it was AMAZING... CUBE STEAK cube-steak.jpg

Plus - plus - PLUS she made apple dumplings for dessert. It was literally the best day ever. And cube steak is going on the menu or i'm...going on hunger strike.

We may not have tables for people to eat food ON - but the food on their LAPS is going to be awesome. I have to confess I was realllly skeptical about how this would all come together. But the recipes Rich has been testing are fabulous. He's got a speghetti and meatballs (from scratch) recipe that is AWESOME. Pea soup to die for... a Corn chowder I love. Jumbalaya that is epic. Today we experimented with my mom's tuna salad recipe and it came out great. It's really gonna be awesome. I'm really proud. And hungry. Mostly hungry.

Everyone has been working really hard. Well... almost everyone. sunbeam-weiner.jpg

If we could strap solar panels to her, she might be able to really pay off.

Before we say farewell for the moment, I should give you a supper club update. Christmas is selling really well - and filling up quickly. If you want to bring a group please call soon - because it's getting tricky!

xo jojo.